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GENERAL HOSPITAL’s Luke and Laura: The Wedding of the Century

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Luke Spencer and Laura Webber Baldwin said “I do” on November 16, 1981, in front of 30 million guests in GENERAL HOSPITAL‘s — and daytime television’s! — most legendary wedding of all time. Let’s take a look back at that unforgettable day…  

Laura Baldwin had trouble dragging herself out of bed… until she spotted her white gown hanging on the door. With a grin spreading across her face, she popped up, peeked out the window, spun around and cried, “It’s my wedding day!” Across town, her groom thew open his balcony doors and screamed, “Hello, Port Charles, Lucas Lorenzo Spencer, king of the single life, is giving it up today!”

The bride and her mother couldn’t help but giggle over what a whirlwind life had been… but Laura also couldn’t resist asking about why Helena was in town. “We’re not going to talk about anybody named Cassadine,” Lesley Webber sniffed. “Blech!” Once Laura’s attendants came together and ate some sticky buns, it was time to get her in that gown! The bride couldn’t wait to put on her grandmother’s garter but had a wardrobe malfunction of sorts when she couldn’t find one of her pearl earrings. While sis Amy Vining tried to track it down, her mother brought in a strange special delivery — a miniature replica of the Titan (today called the Haunted Star) that came with a card signed, from “your grateful and loving donor.” Laura found it a bit strange, but her mom shrugged that it was better than 10 more butter dishes!

General Hospital Luke Robert

Saving the world together bonded Luke and best man Robert. (Photo Credit: Erik Hein/ABC Photo Archive)

The groom, meanwhile, skipped out for “one last fling” — which actually meant promising his beloved Aunt Ruby that he would always need her. But the hungover best man, Robert Scorpio, and Slick Jones worried that Luke and Laura might have run off to elope — or worse, that the groom had hit the road to avoid all the commotion. “You think we can improve Laura’s life if I stand in and marry her?” Slick deadpanned. Of course, Luke returned, and Slick sent him to get dressed, stat. That’s when Helena’s emissary came to ask if Luke would attend her reception the following night. Needless to say, he didn’t intend on skipping his honeymoon for a Cassadine! Like Laura, Luke also received a mysterious boat and then found a piece of jewelry missing — and he was not happy to leave without his stickpin. Nonetheless, the guys piled into a classic car and headed for the mayor’s mansion in style — laughing and honking the whole way to the wedding.

With an epic Port Charles and Beechers Corners potluck coming together on the mayor’s lawn, Agnes Whittaker was overseeing the final touches for the wedding, and just about everyone was pitching in — or rushing to get ready in time! After a kitchen disaster, Lila Quartermaine had to come to the rescue and take Emma Lutz to get a brand-new dress. And by the time they arrived, locals had already lined up outside for a glimpse of the bride. “All this fuss about a wedding,” Edward huffed before leaving the Q mansion.

With a drum roll, ushers Joe Kelly and Bryan Phillips were sent out to greet the wedding party, and Delfina was sent to check on the bridesmaids — who were looking pretty in pink and purple. After the guys escorted Lesley and Ruby down the aisle, Bobbie Spencer, Amy, Tiffany Hill and Claudia Phillips rolled up, followed immediately by the blushing bride. “She looks beautiful,” Amy cooed as the crowd applauded and shouted out their overwhelming approval.

General Hospital Luke Laura wedding

Luke couldn’t take his eyes off the bride… as you can see! (Photo Credit: Erik Hein/ABC Photo Archives)

With a fanciful version of the GH theme song playing, Laura walked the long red carpet, escorted by stepdad Rick Webber. And with everyone looking at her gorgeous veil, headdress and smile, no one even noticed Helena watching from the door! Instead, Luke met his bride, and with their eyes locked, they finished the walk to the altar side by side. “The two young people before us, through their love for one another, remind us of what it is that makes life precious to all of us — love, loyalty and courage,” said the officiant. “Together in the face of extreme danger to themselves, they overcame powerful forces that sought to destroy Port Charles and its people, even the entire world.” Thankfully, no one spoke up with “just cause” to stop the ceremony from proceeding, and after saying “I will,” Luke and Laura exchanged both rings and traditional vows. And with that, they were finally pronounced husband and wife. They were so happy that instead of walking backup the aisle, they almost danced!

General Hospital Luke Laura Wedding

The Spencers knew how to make an exit as well as an entrance! (Photo Credit: Erik Hein/ABC Photo Archive)

The newlyweds shared hugs and kisses with their families and then made the rounds with their guests. But after the Hardys, the Quartermaines, the Grants, and even Laura’s former in-laws wished them the best, the bride was ready to dig into all that food. “I don’t know what to eat first!” she said, eyes wide. But before she could take a bite, her mother informed her that it was time to get on the dance floor. “Nobody can start dancing until you do,” she chided. “What do you say, Mrs. Spencer, [wanna] take a quick buzz around the floor with your old man?” Luke asked.

“I’d say I’m hungry!” she cracked… but she certainly wasn’t thinking about food as Luke spun her around to the tune of “I Could Have Danced All Night.” It was a wild time on the floor, but eventually, Robert broke up the line dancing for a toast — or, as he called it, his big solo number! “To Luke and Laura, may you always have what you have today,” he said, “the love of your friends and the everlasting love of each other.” With the wedding so full of joy, everyone sang and clapped as Luke and Laura cut the cake — everyone except Helena, that is! As Mikkos’ widow fingered the newlyweds’ missing earring and stickpin, she flat out cursed them. None the wiser, Luke and Laura cut their cake… and ate it, too! And when the older guests went inside to rest their feet, Lee Baldwin admitted that he was relieved nothing had gone wrong. “Finally, no more problems,” Lesley sighed… even though she knew better than to tempt fate!

General Hospital Helena Cassadine

Elizabeth Taylor made headlines guest-starring as Helena. (Photo Credit: ABC Photo Archive)

As the bride and groom slipped into more casual attire, a nervous Luke told best bud Robert, “I kind of feel like I’m in one of those big widescreen Westerns, like with John Wayne or Fabian. And I’ve got the lead. I’m the guy who gets to ride off into the sunset with the beautiful girl… but I want my stickpin!” In classic form, Amy spoiled the mood for Laura by referencing Luke’s last wedding and even started to tell Tiffany about the big fight! Just as Laura shut down the gossip, her “old man” came calling for her. He needed her garter, and was all too happy when she had him remove it from her leg himself! “I think I might like married life,” he grinned.

Outside, Lesley, Rick and Ruby toasted the couple’s future, and then Amy called everybody together for the final event. From the balcony, Luke threw the garter, and to Lesley’s delight, Rick caught it. Then it was time to toss the bouquet — and both Tiffany and Amy had their eye on that prize! Instead… Laura’s ex-husband, Scotty Baldwin, caught it! “There is no marriage!” he announced, throwing the bouquet back up the balcony. “I’ll kill you,” cried Luke, shimmying down the balcony to throw a punch. With Laura screaming from above, a fight ensued, and Scotty was knocked out cold. When he came to, he declared that he was contesting his and Laura’s divorce.

General Hospital Scotty Luke Laura wedding

The bridesmaids were even more ticked off than the newlyweds when Scotty moved in to catch the bouquet! (Photo Credit: Erik Hein/ABC Photo Archive)

“The hell you are,” Luke cried, showing him their wedding rings. Then he turned to his wife, kissing her and insisting repeatedly, “We are married.” With a leap into the air, he then cried, “Let’s go!” and they ran off together. But Laura was crying. So he stopped to remind her they’d just had a beautiful wedding. “We’re okay,” he promised her. “Give me a smile.”

Once she did, they got into their antique car and drove off into their future — never having given Helena a second thought. “Enjoy your trip… if you can,” sniffed the villainess as she tore up a photo of the ship and threw it away with the front-page story about their wedding.

For more GH features, keep reading the ABC edition of Soaps In Depth magazine.

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This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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